According to a local article, the complex that houses the artificial wave in Waco, Texas, was closed last Friday for a health check. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention wanted to conduct tests on an extremely rare and deadly single-celled organism called Nægleria fowleri. The latter is said to be responsible for the death of New Jersey surfer Fabrizio Stabile, who died shortly after surfing Waco on September 21. He was 29 years old. However, there is no evidence to date that the surfer contracted the bacteria during his visit to Waco.
In rare cases, amoebas (microorganisms belonging to various cell groups) have been found in insufficiently chlorinated pools and sometimes even in tap water. The amoeba can only be contracted through the nose. Once it enters the brain, the amoeba travels to the brain where it causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), which is most often fatal. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website, symptoms usually begin one to nine days after swimming and those who are infected usually die one to 18 days after the onset of symptoms.
The same Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 143 people had been affected since 1962 and that only 4 of these 143 people had survived.
"The safety of our customers is the most important thing to us. We strive to provide the safest environment for everyone to enjoy our facilities," Stuart Parsons, owner of BSR Cable Park, told The Inertia. "We will continue to respond to requests from the local health department and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) investigation into the death of Fabrizio Stabile. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, friends and the New Jersey surf community during this difficult time.
However, by Saturday morning, surfers were spotted from Surf line's webcams in the Waco pool, even though the test results have still not been made public.
The possibility that Waco may harbor a deadly bacterium is chilling. Since its doors opened to the public last May, the complex has welcomed more than 250,000 people. According to the CDC spokesperson, the results of the tests conducted last Friday in Waco should be available within the week.
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